The International Advocacy Program of the North Carolina Department of Commerce intervenes and assists companies encountering unforeseen difficulties entering or competing in foreign markets.

We recognize competition in the worldwide marketplace is often unfair; so we help North Carolina businesses tap into the collective might of the U.S. Government’s Advocacy Center to protect your products and markets through:

  • Intellectual property protection
  • Effective market research
  • Aggressive maintenance prior to the onset of a conflict

These circumstances could include: 

  • Unfair or illegal trade practices
  • Tariff or non-tariff barriers that may restrict or delay product from reaching a foreign market
  • Complex or difficult trade regulations, policies or standards
  • Ensuring a level playing field when competing for foreign government contracts


Advocacy Services

The advocacy program is available to companies operating in North Carolina. Partnerships with the U.S. Department of Commerce and North Carolina's six international offices around the world enable us to offer these four principal ways to help your company:

Provide research and insight on how to maneuver through foreign government bureaucracies.
Advocate directly to foreign governments on behalf of a client company. This can be done by contacting the appropriate foreign officials both in-country and at their embassies in Washington, DC.
Enlist the support of our North Carolina government leaders, state and federal officials to act on behalf of state clients.

Perform other interventions that will be beneficial to the employers of North Carolina citizens.
Real life examples of how the advocacy program can benefit your company:

A North Carolina furniture company was told they could not sell in Canada because their upholstery did not meet local fire standards. The foreign trade representative in Canada intervened and provided documentation that demonstrated the product did conform to Canadian standards.

A North Carolina company recently won a bid to provide environmental services in Asia. After the company installed its equipment and sent service technicians to Asia, they learned that they needed an operation license before beginning the project.

As the company's wage and travel costs began to mount, the company contacted the United States and Foreign Commercial Service (US&FCS) in Charlotte for assistance with the license. The US&FCS Charlotte offices contacted their counterparts in Asia to speed the delivery of the license. The license was processed and the project got underway within a month of the advocacy.

A medical equipment company had been exporting equipment that included a containerized gas manufactured by another company to South Korea. Sales to that country alone represented $250,000 annually.

New Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) regulations requested a complete breakdown of the inert ingredients in the gas to be written on the import license. The gas manufacturer was reluctant to release trade secrets which prevented the product from entering the market, and the North Carolina company from continuing sales in Korea.

The foreign trade representative in Korea worked with the KFDA and the U.S. Embassy in Korea to fulfill the regulatory statutes while safeguarding proprietary information of the gas manufacturer.

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